Saturday, February 28

Just Me

Today I was going to meet up with friends and see a movie. Unfortunately something came up for all of them. I paced my room for a bit and pondered.

"I can't go see a movie alone! Well, I end up in restaurants alone sometimes. Ok, I might not have another chance to go see this movie (it's almost out of theaters)."

So I went. haha The women behind the desk looked scared at first, but when I approached them in Chinese they seemed to sigh of relief. (I know the feeling. In one of my jobs I was always thinking.'Please speak English!') I went inside and only one family was in there. Four people total. Watching a movie. In a theater. Oh well. The movie was good.

Next i got a text from one of the friends saying she wanted to talk to me. I replied ok but she never texted back. She wasn't in her room when i went to campus. So I decided to read in the one of the study rooms.
I bought 2 novels a while back to practice getting to know all of these characters. When I bought them i underestimated myself. I use my dictionary for words that i don't know. I'm taking it chapter by chapter. But the more i read the less i need that thing! This first book has me laughing, commenting aloud in Chinese, etc. ahaha I might end up finishing both books faster than i thought. ( You can ask my family members. I am a very ... expressive reader. Thoughts and laughter always come out.)

One the Japanese guys came in and looked at the book saying "you're so diligent!" Actually, I just love to read. Reading is my life!!He talked to me for a bit then left. Another Japanese guy came in and looked impressed. I told him it was just fun reading but he still seemed amazed. Whatever.

Finally I listen to my stomach and went for lunch. Dumplings and milk tea. I went back to the study room to read some more, but after while I figured I should get back home. I was on my way to the bus when I spotted some dark skinned people outside. I had on headphones so I smiled and continued walking. Wouldn't you know one guy followed me. 'He must be African', i thought. Read how quickly he strikes out. (Fastest one yet.)

him: Hey! How are you? I was asking the others if you might be African-American.
Me: I'm Jamaican-American.
him: Oh my f******(he cursed and used my lords name in vain. strike 1) That is really something. So amazing.
Me: Why? Are you African?
him: My mom is African my dad is American. (still a strike) So you how did you end up here?
Me: (Are you playing dumb?) I'm studying Chinese.
him: Right right.
Me: You must be working.
him: Y ea I'm working at (blah blah blah~~~~) So we should hang out some time! You have a phone? (strike 3 -_-)

I gave him my junk email. I haven't gotten on well with the African guys so from now on, they need to just happen to see me around campus a few times and then ask for my number. (lol maybe i am mean)

When I made sure he went back into campus grounds I walked to my bus stop. At first there were only 6 of us maybe. But soon enough it seemed like china was getting on the bus at the same time. I forgot it was rush hour. When I got on the bus I did the usual ballet with other passengers as people who want to get off try to get closer to the door. I find this funny and don't mind dancing my way around them at all. Although I noticed that many people seem annoyed to do this. Again I think to myself,'You have been here your whole life. You should just get used to it. Embrace it.'

I arrived home safely. Dinner tonight was amusing again as everyone was trying to learn some simple English. Then Ahyi helped me figure out a passage from my textbook. I logged on msn trying to plan a trip to Korea with a friend. And finally I wrote this blog. After I plan to shower and sleep because tomorrow just might be an adventure.

( ***I don't hate or dislike African men. I just haven't had a good impression from any of the ones that have approached me.***)

Friday, February 20

First day of hosting

I got to the gate of the complex and then called my brother. He insisted to meet me at the gate cause I might forget which way to go. Anyhow a few minutes later I see him running out with a friend close behind him.

me: hey you don't need to run! i'll meet you!
him: it's whatever, whatever. hey this is my friend (i forget the name). you should say hi.
friend: hi
me: hello ni hao 你好。
him: you can speak chinese to her she understands!
friend: haha ok bye

Don't know where he was going but he seemed pleasant. So we get to the apartment doors (every one lives in a high rise) and he showed me how to get in. Then when I get in the door, I see that they bought me new slippers haha. Then Ah-yi 阿姨[aunt] comes and tells us to wash our hands and eat dinner. It was funny because the whole family showed me how to use the sink and said i can use their towels etc. Then at the dinner table I found out that Shu-shu 叔叔[uncle] cooked! (But i've heard that Shanghai men will cook and clean no problem. And I ask again. Where is my Shanghai man?!) Dinner was delicious and we talked about food names and foods in America Chengdu etc. There was a lot of "Of course they have that!", "You don't need to say that." and " Eat more!" lol a blast. Except for the burping by Ahyi and brother ( oh he is older so it's ge-ge 哥哥(guh-guh)) Oh well. it's culture.

Then gege helped me set up the internet and says minutes later. Can I take your picture? An upload it online? lol I said sure and then he added me on msn. After that we situated my bathroom situation with a lot of "Don't worry you can use our stuff if you want." Not like I bought things to purposely separate but you know livin in the dorm means buy your own mess. Then I settled in.

************************Then sleep.********************

When I awoke as late as I could. (10am) I ate breakfast and Shushu talked to me about random basketball and houses in America etc. I went off to read a book and then ahyi called me in to lunch. We ate and talked and again they gave me too much food lol (Well, i do want to gain weight ;p)

I think I did luck out on this one. I have an interactive family and I feel very comfy. Now it's time to get "comfy" in my classes : (

My Apologies For 'the wait'

ahaha ha-ha ha, boo hoo hoooo

I have not been online due to (like I thought) a really tough Chinese exam and a Chinese Phenomenon essay + presentation (still workin on the presentation) and my most demanding class (Chinese U.S. relations) has been requiring almost all of my time.

Ok good news. My director found me a home stay! I was surprised and convinced that they didn't want to bother helping us get them so I'd lost hope. Then bam! some family was interested in hosting a student. It seems like a good one because the parents both work (not sure that a house mom is a problem but my director thought so), the only son is also working (meaning I don't have to teach him English lol).

I feel kind of strange because I am not sure what I can give back to them (seeing as the things they are giving me are; house, culture, language improvement...) Oh well we'll see. I think they are good people though.

How it came to be:
I hear the son was just dying to host a student and so the parents (hoping to get a boy at least) agreed. The son met me and showed me a small video of the house, on his cell haha. Then asked me all kinds of questions some serious some stupid. (such as; do you close the door when using the bathroom?) He was talking so fast, in Chinese, but I knew how to answer everything and the jokes. That one just caught me off guard. He's 25 but sometimes acts younger than me. The next week (tues.) I checked out the house in person.

*****STOP***** This was mainly because I wanted to see the parents reaction to 1. Not only am I a girl 2. I'm black lol
Which hasn't been a problem for me here in China, but you never know how they'd feel about you living with them.
*****GO 'Head ;p

At the house they did not jump in fright after opening the door. Instead I was welcomed with smiles and asked to sit on the couch. My director went with me just in case, and gave them an introduction. While she did that the son gave me a house tour. I talked a little with the parents and I found the mother to be very cute and the father very laid back. They gave me some snacks and at the end we left.
My director informed me that they discussed the rent and the family decided that I only need to pay for utilities about 100 every month...since she's Chinese I'm assuming she means Yuan, but that leaves me breathless.

Dorm: 2,100 yuan rent + extra electricity used + 80 internet= 2,221 [$324.92 ](last month)
Home: 0 yuan rent + 100 flat rate utilities = 100 [$14.63 ]

Even if they charged me $100 [683.56yuan]. I was about I clean for you? But they declined (haha thank goodness cause no one has carpet in China and I even clean my own dorm everyday. maybe a few times. hehe whew!)

Well my host brother being the great person he is took my stuff over yesterday for me so that I could study all night here lol So I move in myself today.(I can get back some of this month's rent and my deposit.) I'll update you if you're interested...;p

Sunday, February 15

Trip to Suzhou


This was a very interesting place. We went to a garden and I realized something. Anytime a place is a "garden" we think of green and flowers galore. In China it seems to be green trees of few and rock formations of many....In any event I was happy and loved the place.

Then we went to the silk factory and took a guided tour of the place the ate in their restaurant.

Finally we went to Tiger Hill which is famous because they have a leaning tower...of...i'm not sure but it's leaning all right. and it's huge!!

Tuesday, February 10

Lantern Festival Final Day

haha Actually the last time I put Day 1 was because it was my first day, but in reality it was the second to last day.

So this time I went with the Modern Culture and Society class (I'm not in it). I thought that this was a good way for a free tour guide. I was right. I learned a little (little) bit of the history at the famous Yu garden!!
I took pics again because the day and night have obvious differences.

The program director had visited every language class to let us know that the teacher wanted to leave at 12:30 because admission was free before 1pm or 1:30..(she wasn't exactly sure) After that, it would be 50per person even though last night I paid 30... No need to tell me twice. I was in the lobby by 12:20. SOME people could care less since 50yuan is only about $7 but I say if it's worth 50yuan that's my $50 and I wanted to save it. Needless to say those people didn't show up until about 12:40; we'd waited because there was a token saying the others were coming. When we finally encouraged her to leave them behind we found out that we were taking the public bus. Great. That was at least a minute walk. We got on the bus after rushing and suddenly the other students were being waited for again as they decided to take their time and catch up. They walked so slowly too when we got off the bus. (No transportation could get close to Yu garden because of the police blocking off the streets) Luckily when we arrived at 1:20 and the free admission was until 1:30.

(I don't understand why it seems ok for these students to just ignore the ime structure and the teachers just look annoyed/worried and deal with it.)

This time I went around with various friends who needed to find lunch. They chose some restaurant that looked like a cafeteria style. I warned them that every dish had its own price, but:

them: Oh okay lets eat!
As soon as we stepped in the line with our trays.
them: Oh you know this looks like it'll be expensive. Do you want to eat here?
Me: -_- I told you it was one specific price for one specific dish.
them: i know. well, it doesn't matter to me if you want to eat here I'll stay. It just seems expensive.
Me: ....yep we're already in line so I'll stay. (angrily turns toward food and randomly grabs dishes)

whatever!!! At the end of the day. I bought a souvenir lantern and went back to the dorm and studied my eyes out.

here's some promised pics.

Monday, February 9

Day 1 Of The Lantern Festival

I was trying to sleep for a long time but my mind woke me up at 6:20 in the morning. HA! I noticed that my body wouldn't move though and it felt heavy so i forced myself to sleep. I woke up constantly but I finally slept until 11:30AM.

This is when I started the battle of finding a Carrefour家乐福 close to me. Since no one knows how to give me directions, I was online mixing and matching maps and addresses until 4pm! (well I was watching a drama first so I really didn't start until 1 or so...) But I finally made a good guess of which was closer and how to get there by the metro. (Taxi =$$)

I was quite impressed with myself getting there so fast! It was getting back that was a complete hassle. I had planned to meet my friends to eat dinner by Yu Garden and then go in to see the lantern festival.(Sorry I will post the amazing pics tomorrow) The problem was I had to take the line 3 (which got me there) back to transfer to line 8 and then walk to the garden (since I don't know bus routes still).

Sadly line 8 is outside and across the street inside a hotel from the line 3 station...-_- I know. I got lost because a sign told me to walk by the Soccer stadium but the stadium has no signs to guide you,so I just made a big circle. Then I went out of the other exit that the map showed and got lost again because the only sign I saw was broken and pointed to a convenient store...literally directly at the convenient store.
SO! I asked a few people while aimlessly walking back and forth and finally asked a family ( inside what I thought was a night watch stand) and they told me. It's on the other side. O.O (The other side was an alley... a dark alley behind a hotel with what turned out to be a garage.)
After seeing me walk into that alley the son ran to me and said "Where are you walking?! What's even back here!?!" haha
We started laughing as I apologized for making him run (it was an alley so I walked fast). Then he said "my parents are at the corner they'll help you."
So sure enough at the corner the mom says "it's inside the hotel exactly on the left." Then I saw the sign, apologized to them for having to come show me, to which they said it's nothing and watched me safely go inside, and finally got on the sub.

My friends texted at 7:15 sayin they were just leavin and I let them know that I was just on the way too. Thinking they'd meet me at the restaurant (I was so hungry) I walked there first. For some reason they had paid and gone into the Festival area and then said ‘so where's the restaurant?-_-. [Usually you wait outside for the extra 5-10min your friend is late.] So we ended up walking around and checking out all of the lanterns and watching the dragon dancing and parade, until finally we knew we should eat. With luck gone out the window, the food I had been craving for 2weeks was closed. So we started walking back to the metro (as everything else was closed) until I looked at the bus stop sign and said 'let's just take the bus'. For some reason they questioned whether I knew where it would go, but the sign said 人民广场 [People's square]. So of course I knew.

We got to our destination outside of campus and chose to eat dumplings. They go 6 for 2.5yuan[$.37] and so a meal of that is cheap and de-lurcious. Now I am thinking I should study for my class in the morning but I'm tired so I'll study before it starts (because I wake up unconsciously before 7:30 anyway).

Saturday, February 7

Almost No Sleep

I went to my friends' place of party, Shiryokia(?), and it was expensive if you ate only one dish cause those things were small. I was afraid it'd be only sushi cause i can't eat alot of it. But we ended up paying 160yuan [$23.41] to eat and drink whatever was on the menu. And yes they got there at 7:30pm and planned to leave at closing(11pm)...they wanted to "get their money's worth". I thought the food was excellent and even tried sashimi (raw fish). So staying until closing was not something i thought necessary.

After the birthday boy wanted to check out a new club but everyone encouraged him to go to M2. They go to M2 every Wednesday because they used to have an all you can drink for 100yuan [$14.63] special. So I thought that was unnecessary too. When we got there about an hour later they were complaining about M2 so we went to Windows Too. I think the music was better there (not techno) but it was soooo small. Plus everyone finally realized they were too tired to dance anyway. Then they went to McDonalds, but I hate McDonalds so I only got orange juice. For 7.20!!![$1.06] It only came in small!! We finally arrived home around 6:30am. I went to bed to try and get a nap before the festival thing.


At the festival thing there were a bunch of dance and performances and Tai Chi. It was awesome! The were all old people and in one dance they were using their canes and I was like "Go nainai! Go yeye! (grandma!/grandpa!)" haha

I was standing by a Tibetan nainai, wearing their beautiful traditional clothing and so I talked to her a bit (she was so adorable. child-like.) then a friend and I took pictures with her (This was in the middle of one of the dance performances). That must have been the green light for the other people.
I remember that at our arrival some professionals were taking photos of us and directing us to look at certain things. ( I noticed though, even 10yr olds were using pro-cameras...hmmm) But that was the beginning so I thought that would be it. Low and behold, after taking a picture with Tibetan nainai, we were pushed to go make some sweet rice balls. There were some beautiful twins from...some country... that came too, so everyone wanted their picture and then there were older Chinese twins, so of course they took pictures together. lol (The Chinese ladies were pretty too.)

So while making the rice balls I felt like I was actually working for a magazine because they were taking soooo many pictures and then they started to direct us and take pictures. after making 3 for those cameras I had to make another and answer a few questions for the news camera. haha
*First the announcer lady goes: do you speak Chinese?
*Me: yes i do.
*Lady teaching me the rice ball: of course she does! how would she understand my directions?
In all I thought it was an awesome morning[10:30am ended]. Of course I planned to go sleep after but I was called out by a friend in an hour.


We went to the anime district and I saw some awesome outfits that I will definitely start rockin'. I'll upload the pics later.
We went to the Nike store which had a building size poster of Mr. Bryant on the side and his shoes were everywhere inside. Figures.
( I noticed that everybody and their grandmas rock Nike. If it's not Nike it's usually very nice lookin dress shoes. Even the homeless seem to keep their shoes up. So i felt slightly embarrassed on account of I'm still wearing my 3yr old shoes....yes I will be buying new [Nike] shoes soon. I wondered why people kept lookin at my shoes.)

Then we went to Dunkin Donuts on the way to the Japanese school. It was so nasty. But I don't like Dunkin anyway. It's Krispy Kreme for me.
The Japanese school was nice but I don't have the funds to be paying a 2nd tuition. They said they had a scholarship but I was like '2months is already $805'. I going next year anyhow so there's no need to pay. I thought it was like a learning language club, not an institution.
(This is also when I decided I don't like to hang out with my black guy friend alone anymore. These people mistake him for my boyfriend and I don't want people to assume when I'm alone with a guy of dark descent that we're dating. I won't just stop hangin' out with them; I just wont like it.)

Even though by now I was ridiculously tired, I had been invited to eat dinner with my classmates (remember only 4 of us) at their apartment at 7pm. It was very nice inside and even though I don't talk to them much we ended up talking until 11pm almost. I think I grew closer because I learned lots of crazy things about them. They're good people.

Finally getting back to the dorm around 11:20 my friends across the hall wanted me to go clubbing with them.
HA ha ha Ha haha HAaaa.
I told them I love hangin with them (they pick good places) but I was toooo tired. I showered and slept soooo peacefully.

Friday, February 6

Pressure Of My Self

This morning I randomly awoke at 6:45AM...not cool. so I went back to sleep. I got up a couple of times more but decided to get out of bed at 8:50. I got ready in 2 minutes cause my class is on the first floor any way.

I get to Chinese at 9:00. (I have it at 9 MWF)
Again I am the only one in the classroom wondering why people never come to class on time. There are only 4 students total and one lives in the dorms with me...
Anywho, we did our presentations (2-3min every Fri.) and then the weekly newspaper article reading. I'm happy we have this kind of assignment because the more I understand the more accomplished I feel. The only thing is, even though I slept well, when the teacher started to explain every word she thought we didn't know or couldn't figure out, I started to drift off. It was sad. haha I don't know why teachers do that anyway. For one these particular assignments come from a Chinese newspaper textbook that picks out the "difficult" words and explains them in Chinese.(oh yeah!) Then the teacher provides an extra paper with the words translated in English. Therefore, there is no reason to explain all the words in the text again in class. (I'd rather work on my grammar skills)

After class I was so drowsy but I decided to eat out with my classmates. (How come none of them can read the menu??) When we got back a lady and a man who work with the foreign students department came to ask if I would like to join them at 8:20Am tomorrow to participate in Lantern Festival activities with the high school nearby....(no, that's too early. yes, i want to experience culture. -_-) I said sure and even allowed them to give me a wake up call. lol

Sadly today is my friends birthday and somehow he let a friend of his plan his party at an expensive all you can eat and drink restaurant...(180yuan=$26.34 ) Then they will go Karaoke or clubbing.

I need to be studying anyway. I have decided to become as close to fluent as native before I leave here in May. Plus I am jobless. No need to randomly spend money when jobless. and.. broke... hahahaha

***I already said I'd go so I will. I'll just be MIA until I feel I deserve to go out again ;p ***

Monday, February 2

Banking in China

I got a bank account while I was in Chengdu because... it's common sense lol
I chose Bank Of China because it's all over China...

Anywho, I went to deposit more money yesterday and guess what? I was rejected. I have a Sichuan account and that doesn't work in this area of the country.

Therefore. You must change your bank accounts or bring a passport and information. I guess it's pretty safe that way, just kind of inconvenient.

Also I finally got to see the changing of money for the ATM!! There are always 2 guards outside with their guns loaded and ready but one guy was doing such a bad job of looking like a threat...The other noticed me before I intentionally walked by them, so he posed haha
I wish I could have gotten a picture, but no need to be deported!! ;p
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